- Bomber [T]
- MMA [T]
- herO [P]
- Classic [P]
- San [P]
- Life [Z]
- Taeja [T]
- INnoVation [T]
Those are your final eight contestants in this year’s global finals. We’re getting down to the stages of the tournament where giants are being knocked out of the fray and new legends arise in their place. We’ve had Jaedong go out 3-2 against Bomber, Polt suffer the same fate to Classic and the man who’s dominated the WCS global rankings all year – HyuN, get sent home by INnoVation 3-1. The grand final is always going to be stacked, and this year is no exception, resulting in only one of the round of sixteen matches ending in a complete whitewash. The competition was stiff and it showed in the performance of all who are fighting it out to become King of StarCraft in 2014. But going forward, there’s still a battle royale to get there.
Bomber [T] vs. MMA [T]
Ironically, the last time these two Terran’s played each other was one year ago in the round of sixteen at the BlizzCon Finals in 2013. Bomber came out on top 3-2 and made it all the way to the semi finals. But both of these players are coming from a pretty decent winning streak. Bomber just claiming back-to-back Red Bull Battlegrounds victories including the finals in Atlanta. On the other hand, MMA is our most recent WCS EU champion and the winner of DreamHack: Moscow merely a few short weeks beforehand. Though both of these players are equally lovable, our prediction has to be with Bomber purely because of his track record against MMA, standing at 8-4.
herO [P] vs. Classic [P]
This is a series with much less history behind it: having only met twice before, yet in the same tournament – Proleague ‘12-’13 Season 1. Both times herO was the victor, however as it was only a best of one it still leaves us with little to work with. Casting further doubt as to who will move on to the next round is the fact that both of these Protoss’ worst match is PvP. Classic does have the technical advantage with a 2.62% higher win rate in this mirror match up, but it’s certainly not convincing enough to make a definitive call. If I had to choose a single winner out of these two it would have to be Classic, but that’s purely down to the fact he has a GSL championship this year and very little else. herO started the year pretty strongly winning IEM but hasn’t really performed in the GSL and that makes me wonder whether he can truly stand the test of not only Classic, but all of the remaining players at BlizzCon.
San [P] vs. Life [Z]
With our last remaining Zerg of the year, Life is the final hope for the Queen of Blades. ZvP is only narrowly not his worst match up (by only a 0.19% margin), however these two have seen each other seven times before and Life has won six of those encounters. The aggregate score between the two is 10-2 in favour of the Zerg and that’s a hefty bat to swing going into the quarter finals. Outside of this series though San has been putting in work this year to get himself as far as he has, with six top four finishes in Premier tournaments this year he’s no stranger to the round of eight. As strange as it sounds, my final prediction is going to have to go with San – they’ve only met four times this year, and he won the latest game they played at IEM less than two weeks ago. I can’t see Life winning this tournament and I feel that it may affect him as he probably knows that too. This isn’t an easy call, but San, we’re voting for you.
Taeja [T] vs. INnoVation [T]
This rivalry is one of the most contentious of all in StarCraft II history. These two Koreans have met each twelve times before, with their aggregate score coming in at 11-17 in favour of Taeja. That figure actually pairs these two closer than you think; Taeja has won eight out of the twelve matches these two have played against each other – with the score only being 11-17 a lot of those matches went to the final game, being very close indeed. This does mean that Taeja has the tendency to win in longer series, however it similarly means that choosing a clear prediction proves difficult. INnoVation however will have something to prove, as he has lost to Taeja more times in his career than any other single player.
There’s a lot more data to look at in this series, and hardly enough time in this piece to look at it all sufficiently. Taeja has shown significant promise all throughout the year, being the first Terran to win a Premier tournament waiting until June to claim that title. But INnoVation has proven his worth in GSL this year and is even our latest champion. He’s won three different Invitationals and has all-killed the likes of Evil Geniuses and Team Axiom. For the final prediction I’m going to have to go with INnoVation, mainly because of the GSL win and the fact that Taeja hasn’t had a tournament victory since July so his play in the later half of this year isn’t necessarily up to the standard of his earlier performances.